Posts Tagged ‘TiVo’

Internet TV news: BlackBerry, Blockbuster and TiVo, Netflix on PS3?

A few Internet TV-related stories have been doing the rounds over the last few days that I’ve not yet had a chance to comment on. Here’s a quick catch-up.

BlackBerry to launch video download service

blackberryvideoResearch In Motion is close to launching a a full-episode television service for the company’s line of BlackBerry smartphones. An official announcement could come as early as next week at CTIA, reports NewTeeVee. Interesting tidbits include:

  • It will be an unlimited monthly subscription service for a fee
  • Once a user orders a program, the content will be downloaded in the background over Wi-Fi
  • Multiple broadcast and cable networks have licensed content for the service

As NTV notes, utilizing WiFi rather than 3G to deliver episodes to the phone enables RIM to bypass carriers, while at the same avoiding the inconvenience of side-loading content via a PC (iTunes style). Obviously it would be preferable to offer both options – WiFi and 3G – but that would likely mean sharing revenue, something that RIM, like Apple, is keen to avoid. As it stands, any direct paid-for content offering from RIM won’t sit well with carriers who still insist on owning the customer.

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TiVo gets its Netflix fix

The roll out of TiVo’s support for Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ Internet TV service is now complete, reports Zatz Not Funny. As of today, “TiVo Series 3, HD, and HD XL subscribers who also partake in an unlimited Netflix plan will be able to stream a wide variety of video content at no additional cost.”

Dave Zatz’s verdict:

While the hybrid Netflix+TiVo interface isn’t as snappy as my Xbox or Roku boxes, receiving Netflix digital video on a DVR – a primary television set-top box – is extremely significant. Also notable, this represents the first time TiVo has facilitated high definition Internet video.

Dave’s only real complaint is that there’s not enough compelling content available through Netflix’s streaming catalog, something that should improve over time.

As I noted when Netflix first made the announcement, adding support for TiVo marks an impressive six months for the company in which it has delivered on its promise to bring its Internet TV offering on to many devices beyond the PC: Netflix streaming is now available on game consoles (Microsoft’s XBox 360), set-top boxes (Roku), DVRs (TiVo) and Internet connected DVD players (LG and Samsung).

Check out ZNF’s video demo of Netflix on TiVo after the jump…

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TiVo bridges the pizza to TV gap

Not content with trying to solve the PC to TV problem, TiVo has teamed up with Dominoes Pizza to “give broadband connected TiVo subscribers the ability to order pizza for delivery or pick-up, and track delivery timing, right from their TV sets.”

While ordering a pizza directly through the TV, all without leaving the couch, seems like a neat idea, it’s utility maybe limited, particularly for the laptop generation. As Dave Zatz points out, the 10 foot UI of a TiVo will have a hard time beating the efficiency of the 2 foot browsing experience provided by a PC. And since many people, myself included, already watch TV with a laptop (or netbook) at hand, why not just visit Dominoes’ website or any takeaway delivery service of choice, and place an order that way.

See also: I’ve jumped on the Netbook bandwagon

However, for those users that don’t always have a PC on their lap, the Dominoes integration could provide an additional revenue stream for TiVo, presuming the company is getting a healthy kick back from Dominoes. On that note, the pizza tie-in isn’t the only e-commerce feature integrated into the company’s set-top box. Users also have the ability to “find and purchase products on related to a customer’s favorite TV show” and can purchase cinema tickets through Fandango – all via their TiVo remote.

Zatz Not Funny: TiVo, Flip MinoHD, CES Unveiled and more

A periodic roundup of relevant news from our friends at Zatz Not Funny (one of my all time favorite blogs)…

Flip goes HD, adds FlipShare software

Mari Silbey: Pure Digital unveiled its anticipated Flip MinoHD today packaged with new FlipShare software for editing and sharing… One of the issues with the Flip camcorders to date has been keeping a sharp focus for close-up shots. According to a Flip spokesperson, the MinoHD doesn’t necessary solve that problem, with the minimum focus range staying at 80 cm. However, it’s likely not a significant concern for casual users, particularly with the new HD resolution.

(Ed. I looked at purchasing a Flip but after reading multiple reviews I’ve plunged for the more expensive Sanyo HD800 – review coming soon).

Dave dumps XM (again)

Dave Zatz: See ya, XM. I was on the fence and you pushed. Our time together has been mostly positive, but the massive lineup modifications yesterday without any advance notification isn’t the proper way to treat your customers. So I’m walking.

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iPhone app climbs Apple's 'walled garden' to display photos on TiVo

DVRPics is a new application for iPhone and iPod touch that enables you to stream photos to a networked TiVo so that they can be viewed on the TV.

Currently only one photo can be selected at a time — a limitation the app’s developer blames on Apple, since third-party developers aren’t given direct access to the iPhone’s photo library. However, a version of DVRPics that supports photo slide shows is next on the app’s road map. The app costs 99 cents from the iTunes AppStore (iTunes link).

Interestingly, DVRPics isn’t the only TiVo-related app for the iPhone. After a quick search I discovered an app called DVR Shows (iTunes link) that enables you to see what recordings are stored on your TiVo via an iPhone or iPod touch, including full program details. Unsurprisingly, you can’t actually stream those recordings to the iPhone or even use the iPhone as a TiVo remote a la iTunes or the recently released iPhone app for Sonos.

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After on-off relationship, Netflix streaming comes to TiVo

It may have taken four years but they got there in the end. Netflix and TiVo today announced that the two companies have began rolling out access to Netflix’s ‘Watch Now’ video streaming service on Internet connected TiVos.

As Dave Zatz notes:

The process probably hasn’t played out exactly the way TiVo and Netflix anticipated when they initially inked a development agreement in 2004… In fact, the struggle to find content and move this project forward drove Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to declare there’s “no work going on,” “no content,” and “no point” in 2005. Fast forward a few years and it’s pretty clear that the landscape has drastically shifted. Content is everywhere and Netflix intends to serve as many platforms as possible: “We want to be integrated on every Internet-connected device, game system, high-definition DVD player and dedicated Internet set-top box.”

It’s pretty impressive that over the last six months Netflix has delivered on its promise to bring its Internet TV offering on to many devices beyond the PC. What sounded like pie in the sky – especially in light of the company’s on-off relationship with TiVo – has actually panned out, in which Netflix streaming is available on game consoles (Microsoft’s XBox 360), set-top boxes (Roku), DVRs (TiVo) and Internet connected DVD players (LG and Samsung).

See also: Don’t call it a hobby: Netflix and TiVo continue to push Internet TV into the living room

Want to hear more from Netflix’s CEO? We got a spare ticket for NewTeeVee Live in San Fran. on Nov 13 where he’ll be speaking. (See: NewTeeVee Live: last100 reader discount and ticket giveaway)

Don't call it a hobby: Netflix and TiVo continue to push Internet TV into the living room

No longer content with dissing his company’s own offering, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now calling the whole product category a “hobby”. But that isn’t stopping others from forging ahead to bring Internet TV into the living room, with both TiVo and Netflix rolling out partnerships this week to give their customers more content and hardware choices respectively. But first back to what Jobs said during the company’s Q4 earnings call on Tuesday.

“I think the whole category is still a hobby right now. I don’t think anybody has succeeded at it and actually the experimentation has slowed down”, said Jobs in answer to one analyst’s question about how Apple sees the digital living room opportunity in the next year. “A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded away, so I’d have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture capital outlooks and stuff, I continue to believe it will be a hobby in 2009.” (via Seeking Alpha)

That’s a fairly dire prognosis from Jobs, and suggests that the company might purposely be taking its eye off the ball when it comes to the living room, especially as Apple pursues more developed and profitable markets such as that of the iPhone (although you should always be careful when taking what Jobs says at face value). Either way, for those companies that are still in the market, now seems like an ideal opportunity for greater experimentation and to give consumers more non-Apple choices. On that note, let’s return to those announcements.

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How big of an impact is Internet-delivered video making in consumer living rooms?

I’ve often wondered this, but my math skills suck. How big of an impact is Internet-delivered video really making in the consumer living room?

Dan Rayburn, the EVP of and the blogger behind, crunched numbers in a post for GigaOm today and decided that the impact is not nearly as large as we think.

“While it is good to see more content options coming to consumers, adding up all of the install numbers for these devices gives a stark picture of just how small the install base really is,” Rayburn wrote. “The market is still too fragmented, with too many different devices, all limited by a lack of premium content.”

Rayburn bases his analysis on market penetration rates. His point is that the best technologies don’t always win — it’s what consumers adopt. The numbers for TV-connected devices are interesting.

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Video: YouTube finally arrives on TiVo

Although announced back in March, it’s only today that TiVo users can finally access YouTube through their set-top boxes — and a minority of TiVo users at that. The new feature is made possible because of YouTube’s decision to re-encode its library of content to H.264 video, a format that only TiVo Series 3 and HD models can support. The result, says Streaming Media’s Dan Rayburn, is that of TiVo’s four million subscribers, only 750,000 get access to YouTube, and even then only if they have their set-top box connected to the Internet, which many don’t.

Nonetheless, for those that can get it, YouTube access will be a welcome addition to TiVo’s existing lineup. And typically, TiVo appear to have implemented it well. Don’t take our word for it though, and instead judge for yourselves by watching the video after the jump (courtesy of our friends over at Zatz Not Funny).

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Catching up with Time Warner Cable, Blockbuster, TiVo, iTunes UK, and Netflix

time warner cable logoAnother day, another set-top box.

This one comes courtesy of Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, who told those at the Stanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York that the company planned to market equipment to its subscribers to make it easier for them to watch Internet video on their televisions.

Naturally, Britt offered few details, other than to say:

“Right now it’s pretty hard to get Internet stuff on your TV,” Britt said [via Reuters]. “We’re actually going to have equipment we make available to subscribers. It’s actually going to be a new wireless cable modem that will allow you to network everything in your house.”

Naturally, Britt didn’t elaborate or say when the set-top box would be available to subscribers.

“Within a relatively short time . . . it’s going to be very easy to get Internet TV on your big screen TV.”

OK. So Time Warner is throwing its hat into the ring with the likes of Apple and the AppleTV, TiVo, Netflix/Roku, Vudu, Microsoft, Sony, the cable companies, and seemingly hundreds more. As long as we’re watching the vendor sports between these players, we might as well throw Time Warner’s set-top box scheme into the mix.

Catching Up

After the break, a few stories of interest from the just-concluding week.

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